Saturday, July 24, 2010

Genealogy, Rest, Relaxation, More Genealogy

You Go Genealogy Girl #1 has been on the road in Lil' Red since mid-May. While I have made appearances at home, they have been brief. At least for a while, my suitcases are out of sight and Lil' Red just roams around town.

That should leave time for rest and relaxation. How I wish! As long as there are genealogy projects, I don't get in much R&R. I have been writing, reading, more writing and also trying to get through my still very high stack of papers from Salt Lake City. There's good stuff in that box. I feel that every spare moment needs to be devoted to it. Actually it's almost like Christmas seeing what comes out of the box next. It's gone down by about two inches since I returned home in early June.

Already I'm being asked by friends if I'm going back to Salt Lake City in 2011. I need to discuss that with YGGG #2. We have actually talked about selecting another site for our annual, big research trip. However, we seem drawn back to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. It's convenient staying next door to the library and Lil' Red knows the way. YGGG #2 is a pro at packing the car with everything needed for our stay in Deseret.

While I'm basking, not in the sun, but in the thrill of going through genealogy treasures here at home, YGGG #2 is getting ready to leave for Topeka, KS. She will visit her son, daughter-in-law and their eight children. On Friday she will be at the Midwest Family History Expo in Kansas City. I'm turning green with envy. However, if I don't stay home, my treasures will still be in the box and the writing and research will not get done.

Maybe I do need a little rest and relaxation today. Could I possibly find a cemetery that I have never visited? What's that Lil' Red? No more out of town trips for a while? Okay, back to the grindstone.

YGGG #1 .... Ruby (the one at home)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How To Dress For Conferences

You Go Genealogy Girl #1 in her finest! She was prepared for the recent Family History Expo in Loveland, Colorado. Gadget bag, I-touch, blogger beads and computer. Maxine would have been jealous.

Cheri, You Go Genealogy Girl #2, is preparing this week to attend the Midwest Family History Expo in Kansas City on July 30-31st. You never know what "characters" YOU might meet at a conference or Expo. Ron Arons will present "Researching Your Criminal Ancestors". Be sure to check out the full two day agenda online and make your plans to join us in Kansas City. Only 10 days before the fun and learning begins!

"Maxine" TM Hallmark Cards


You Go Girl #2, Cheri

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Day At The Museum: Genealogy Style

The past Saturday was our long awaited day to have some fun in the park and tour some great Nebraska museums. The You Go Genealogy Girls were the hosts for "A Day At The Museums" in Alliance Nebraska. Since we both belong to the genealogy society in North Platte, Nebraska and I live in Alliance, Nebraska; we thought it would be a nice field trip to bring the genealogy group to Alliance.

You Go Girl came to visit me and we stayed busy for two days beforehand, getting things ready for our picnic meal and planning the tour for our group. We were anxious to get started and looked forward to seeing our friends on Saturday.

Finally the day arrived. We busily gathered all our supplies with the gracious help of my niece and "Go Hubby". Everyone at my house had to work if they wanted lunch! We arrived at the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center at 9 am to set everything up. The museum director was kind enough to let us use the indoor patio facility at the museum when the weather that morning was to exceed 100 degrees! It was very nice and surely did make the long day more bearable. By 10:30 AM our guests had arrived and we were ready to get started. Our group included friends from North Platte and Alliance, with some staff ladies from the museum who very kindly helped out with lunch and our tours.

First stop was a walking tour of the basement, kitchen, storage, and archiving area of the Knight Museum/Sandhills Center. We got a behind-the-scenes tour of their great system for storing all the collectibles and archiving the thousands of family history documents that are housed there. The museum director, Becci Thomas, was very thorough and our group got to see the unique movable shelving systems and see how they integrate into the new museum. The basement tour concluded with a look at the facility's full service kitchen that is used for meetings, weddings, and city celebration parties: all these gatherings can be held on the beautiful indoor patio area that we were using for our gathering that day. Our museum is a complete community facility.

Lunch was next on the agenda! Everything was served buffet style and while the group ate and visited we held our door prize drawings. Several guests went home with small mementos of the day. Immediately after our lunch, the group gathered and split into vehicles for the short drive to the nearby Sallows Military Museum which is part of our overall museum system but housed separately. A few of the genealogists elected to walk the three blocks, passing by our historic city fountain. Once again the director filled everyone in on some of the history of the area and told about the displays in the military museum. That building also houses a small but impressive indoor botanic garden which was an added bonus.

Back to the main museum at 1 PM. There we were introduced to the impressive holdings of genealogical,family history,county histories and vital records which are housed in the gorgeous "Heritage Room" of the Knight Museum/Sandhills Center. The research room was designed and built into our new museum for the purpose of housing those records and anyone is welcome to come and research there. Staff is always on duty to assist patrons and welcomes all visitors to the new facility. From there we journeyed into the new little theater to view a Nebraska Sandhills film which introduced everyone to the main museum. Western Nebraska history from the age of the dinosaur through prairie pioneers, native Americans, soldiers, railroaders and agricultural families is all beautifully represented in the museum. It had been a busy day for everyone but we were not quite finished yet!

Two o'clock brought us all to a museum conference rooms where we were treated to a power point presentation on the new Nebraska Veterans Cemetery at Alliance. The administrator of the facility, Allen Pannell, showed many photos of the project as it has progressed in construction and told about the ways the veterans and their families will be honored. The cemetery is built on part of the land that was once the Alliance Army Air Base. Nearly all the first troops into Normandy during WWII were trained here at this base so it is a special honor for us to have this new facility located here. It is the first Nebraska State Veterans Cemetery. The program was enjoyed by all and we went away with a lot of new knowledge and pride about the cemetery.

A few in attendance took some time to do some research at the days end before the three hour drive back to North Platte. Many said they were surely going to make the trip again and spend more time getting to know the wonderful museum system we have here. The day was long but a lot of fun for all and best of all was that one of the ladies in attendance met a relative that she never knew. Her unknown family had just came to the museum as patrons and in the course of writing a check for a gift shop purchase, our museum director noticed their name as being the same as one of our tour guests. She introduced them and sure enough, they were related and had never met--who knew? That is one of the things that most genealogists dream of! A nice ending to a fun genealogy day in the park.

My next big outing will be the Family History Expo in Kansas City on July 30-31st. The agenda is available on their website and includes great topics as Southern State researching, Swedish record acquisition, and using Twitter and Facebook. For those who can't attend, we will have daily live updates from the conference--right here!

You Go Genealogy Girl #2, Cheri

Friday, July 16, 2010

Family Touring and Researching

A few years ago I was born in the Black Hills of South Dakota ... actually more than a few. Having lived in South Dakota until I was 14 years old, I still find it a great place to visit. Each year it seems like the hills have changed, mostly with more tourist attractions, but still they are pretty to see.

Because my granddaughter is with me on this trip, we decided to take her uncle and spend a full day in the Black Hills. Our trip began by trying to find records in the Dawes Co. Courthouse in Chadron, Nebraska. It was a place to stretch our legs, but also turned into a "dry run." Now I have to regroup my thoughts as to where to look next. My granddaughter helped by carrying the big index volumes and watching intently as I went through the names.

We stopped at Custer, South Dakota to decorate my sister's grave. She is the only family member buried there. She died at age seven and was a twin. Next we drove to Mount Rushmore and marveled at the number of people who had the same idea.

Coming back down the Hills, we stopped at Edgemont, South Dakota, which has dwindled in size considerably since I lived there. We decorated my father's grave. Being frightened that she might come upon a rattlesnake, my granddaughter had borrowed her other uncle's garden rake. We didn't find any snakes!

The next stop was a history lesson at Nebraska's Fort Robinson. It's a great place for reunions or just to set back on the porch and pretend you are back in the early fort days.

Our one day trip was fun, but were we ever tired. We are now getting ready to host about 20 genealogists tomorrow at the local museum in Alliance, Nebraska. That will be another fun day!

YGGG #1 - Ruby

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Breaking News!

You Go Genealogy Girl #2, Cheri, has been honored with being chosen to be one of the Bloggers of Honor for the upcoming Family History Expo in Kansas City, Mo. I hope to meet many or you there and I will be posting daily updates from the Expo. You can also check our blog archives for some great pics, and conference pointers that You Go Girl #1- Ruby provided from the recent Family History Expo in Loveland, Colorado.

This is a new press release from the Family History Expo!


For Immediate Release

July 8, 2010

Info at a Glance:

What: Midwest Family History Expo
LDS Feature Tour: July 29, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Free Keynote Address: July 30, 8:30 a.m.
Family History Classes: July 30-31 all day
Screening of “The Forgotten Ellis Island”: July 30, 8:30 p.m.

Where: KCI Expo Center 11730 N. Ambassador Drive, Kansas City, Missouri.

Register: Online at or call 801-829-3295

Family History Expos Debuts in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, MO--Nationally acclaimed Family History Expos will make its debut Midwest appearance in Kansas City, Missouri, July 30-31 with a special feature tour on July 29. The Expo will feature more than 100 family history-related classes taught by national experts at KCI Expo Center 11730 N. Ambassador Drive, Kansas City, Missouri.

Keynote speaker Lori Cox-Paul, director of Archival Operations for the National Archives at Kansas City (serving the Central Plains Region) will address family history enthusiasts from throughout the nation on July 30, 8 a.m., at the Exhibit Hall Classroom. The keynote address is free to the public and will be based on the theme, “Finding Your Family: Turning the Spotlight on Resources from the National Archives at Kansas City.” The opening session is free and opened to the public.

“We’re so excited to bring our services to family historians and genealogists throughout the Midwest,” Family History Expos Founder and President Holly T. Hansen said. “This event is a dream come true. We’ve had so many requests to hold a Family History Expo in the Midwest and now watch out, here we come!”

Family History Expos has held events to teach patrons techniques and technology to trace their roots throughout Western states for seven years. Hansen said this event is a result of natural growth and progression. “Family history research is so exciting, healing, and enlightening. We want to help everyone become more successful in their research quests,” Hansen said. The Expo promises more than 100 classes for beginning through professional genealogists.

This event is sponsored by Family History Expos, FamilySearch,, AGES-Online, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Generation Maps, and Mid-continent Public Library.

LDS Tour Precedes Expo

For the first time ever the Family History Expo will be preceded by a LDS Historic Sites Tour featuring tour guide Glen Rawson, Thursday, July 29, 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m.

This eight-hour tour will take participants back in time to experience history at historically significant sites like:

  • Mormon Church in Independence Missouri’s newly remodeled center honoring the past and the present, with exhibits depicting experiences of Mormon settlers in Missouri between 1831 and 1839
  • Community of Christ Temple
  • Liberty Jail
  • Far West
  • Haun’s Mill
  • Adam-ondi-Ahman

The cost of the tour, $65, is in addition to registration for the Expo. Please register separately for the tour at our website,

Enjoy a Moving Movie with Family History Expos

Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America’s Immigrant Hospital by Lori Conway will be the feature film Saturday afternoon in the Exhibit Hall.

*****Professional consultations are free for REGISTERED attendees only.

Register Early and Save

Register online at or call 801-829-3295.

· Pre-registration (by Thursday, July 29, 6 p.m.): $65.00

· At the door: $75

· One day: $40

· Single class: $12

· Opening session and exhibits are FREE to the public

· LDS Historic Sites Tour, Thursday, July 29: $65 (in addition to the general cost of registration)

Christine Sharbrough

Event Coordinator

Family History Expos, Inc.

P.O. Box 187

Morgan, UT 84050

On the Web:

Main Office: 801-829-3295

Direct Line: 801-792-2596


Friday, July 2, 2010

The Conference Experience

Recently I was asked about getting ready for the Family History Expo in Kansas City. I am pleased the reader is going to attend that Expo. There is really no mystery about getting ready to attend a genealogy conference. However, you do want to make it the best experience possible. Here are some unscientific tips!

1. Prepare ahead of time by registering. YGGG#2 and I recommend that you register for both days of an Expo. That way you get the most bang for the bucks. Make sure you have room reservations (if you are staying overnight) ahead of schedule. Most hotels near or where the Expo is held fill up fast. In addition, the Expo is usually not the only event going on in large conference centers.

2. Keep checking the Family History Expo web page for your specific conference information. Closer to the time of the event, they will have a link for the syllabus. It can be downloaded in PDF. From that you can either print out all of the 200 plus pages or you can print out pages for classes you wish to attend.

3. YGGG #2 and I print out the entire syllabus and put it in a 3 ring notebook. We can review it ahead of time and decide which classes we wish to attend. Occasionally we change our mind about a class. Somebody at the Expo may recommend one over another or you may just have a mood swing at the last minute. Yes, the syllabus notebook is a big one to lug around at a conference, but it's worth it. (See #10)

4. Most people I have seen at Expos don't carry these notebooks. However, many times I have been asked about the syllabus notebook. I take notes directly to the notebook during the lecture. People tell me they wish they had printed it off or at least printed off what pertains to each class they attend. Presenters will often make reference to something in the syllabus and that's when you see blank looks.

5. The syllabus is also given to you in PDF format on CD when you register at the Expo. If you take your laptop into a class, you can download the syllabus and follow along in that manner. Not all rooms will have tables, so you may be forced to juggle the laptop on your lap. At the time of registration you can also opt to purchase the syllabus for a fee. That means in both instances you may have approximately 30 to 45 minutes before the opening speech to prepare for your classes. That's exactly why we print off the syllabus ahead of time.

6. Take comfortable clothes. Be prepared for changes in temperature from one conference room to another. You should take a sweater or light jacket just in case a room is chilly. Comfortable walking shoes are a must as you may be walking a little distance between classrooms and the exhibit hall.

7. Take money! It is tempting to buy everything in sight. The vendors at any genealogical conference are there to entice you to buy. Some may have interesting displays and demonstrations. If you are interested in software, be sure to ask questions and attend any hands-on demonstrations they are presenting.

8. The Family History Expos have a booth Ask The Pros. It is free and you can get advise on genealogy problems and brickwalls. If you are in need of this advise, go prepared with your information. Be sure you know the sources you have checked as well as names, dates and location of events.

9. Genealogy conferences are great for making friends. If you go with genealogy friends, branch out and visit with people from other areas. Make new friends. Be prepared to exchange e-mails. At lunch time, set with somebody you have never met. At the end of each class the presenter will normally ask for questions. Don't be afraid to ask and don't be afraid of presenters. They started "in the beginning" like everybody else and are there to share their expertise. They also learn from you!

10. How do you get yourself and all your "stuff" around the conference? You will see anything and everything at conferences. People who don't print out the syllabus are usually seen carrying a file folder and notepad. If you have "baggage" consider a backpack or bag on wheels. After your first conference, you will know what works best for you. If you have a hand held devise, you can also take notes on that. If you have a Twitter account, they encourage you to tweet highlights. I usually take up two chairs in a non-table room ... one for me and one for my baggage which includes a notebook, laptop computer, iPod Touch ... and I go with the wheels.

It is great experience and we hope you will attend at least one conference a year. Broaden your knowledge, speak the language of genealogy for a weekend and make new friends. Most importantly apply what you learn to your genealogical research.

YGGG #1 -- Ruby

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Involving Family

Surely many of you have asked this same question. How do we involve family and get them to love our genealogy as we do? Nearly all of us who live in the world of genealogy either have family members who are already involved or we have tried desperately to get other family members interested. I believe this passion for genealogy and family history usually has to come along with age. We may start very early in life as prompted by something special like a school project that then blooms into a passion for life. You Go Girl #1 was one of those early bloomers (very early,- many eons ago!) Prompted and guided by that same person, our family has been involved with the love of genealogy for decades AND we have been lucky in the fact that most all our family down through time has been very interested in the history of our ancestors. My paternal Grandmother was born into a family of 15 children and nearly all the descendants of the 12 who survived have stayed relatively close through the years and several have taken an interest in genealogy research. We are truly blessed in that respect.

My interest in genealogy and family history has been present since I was young but I never really got started until after I married in 1971 and started to work a little bit on the extensive research that my Mother-in-law and her sister had done before me. Over the following years, Hubby and I took several short field trips to ancestral home sites, cemeteries, libraries etc. Mom continued to work and lay much of the basis for my husbands side of the family while I raised my kids and worked. She put together a family book for all of us kids some years ago which became our official "Bible" to continue to work from. With the onset of the computer age, our whole concept of genealogy/researching has now changed and I believe that has been the greatest catalyst for generations to follow in our footsteps. Our children and grandchildren are so attuned to vivid graphics that without technology, these generations may not have been as willing to follow through with family history research. Even us old grannies have found new sources to peak our interest. Sometimes we have been dragged along, kicking and screaming, complaining that we didn't know how to turn on anything electronic- but here we are! Mom is still going strong on a daily basis with her research and since I retired 4 years ago I have had my chance to really dig into our family history with enthusiasm. She and I live miles apart but manage to talk several times a week, email back and forth and collaborate on what we have found. I only regret that I could not have started sooner and had more time until the last few years to avidly pursue those ancestors. Now I am trying to make up for lost time! Day and night, the computer is purring, the brain is not resting, or the wheels are turning to get to another on-site research spot. After all, the genealogy research world still lives outside of the computer hard drive too. "We" are having fun now- the two You Go Genealogy Girls, Mom and even Hubby occasionally as he gets coerced into coming along.

What about all those other family members that we wish had our enthusiasm? A new friend and relative whom I have recently met has lamented about the family who doesn't seem to care and sometimes to the point of even being "snotty" about her research and time spent on all those dead people and doesn't want to share their family knowledge. Every genealogist has at least one of those to deal with. Like our ancestors, the living are not all perfect either. If you can't convince them, don't join them-leave them behind and move forward. Yes, it is sad when family does not share our love and enthusiasm but missing out on all those wonderful ancestors and family history stories is their loss. It hurts our feelings when family does not share our love and enthusiasm but over time, I believe many will come around. If they do not then we should record their family as best we can with the hope that a future generation will look back and think of us with love and gratitude for all our hard work on their behalf. With age and maturity, the realistic frailty of family often sets in and many times those family members, and yes, even our own children will eventually see the value of all that we do.

This is the little verse of the You Go Genealogy Girls that we use on our business cards, written because we eat jellybeans all the time while we travel and we think it pertains to many families:

Jelly beans are like our family members. Some are sweet, some are more sour. Some of our "beans" may be white, some may be black, some may have freckles while others may not. Each precious one is an unexpected individual and we love each one....for who and what they are. When they are all together, they can become quite a mixed bag! Whether during sad times or happy times, all those gorgeous "beans" make these genealogist Grannies very happy indeed. They are the fuel of life!

We can all try to involve family in what we do. To nurture their interest is often a chore but we must try as many of our parents and grandparents did. Little did I realize way back then that all these little things would later contribute to my love of family history and genealogy. Grandma spent many hundreds of hours with me; going through old photos or sorting and talking about all the buttons in her old gallon jar and she knew every person's name that went to the old dress or shirt they had come from. Grandma saved them all. She told the stories that went along with each old handkerchief in her big old hat box; who gave her this one or that one and the special occasion that went with it. To a child, they were just fun times but those stories and memories contributed to my families legacy today. Looking back, I often wish I had listened more intently, made an effort to remember the little details in the stories, or even to have asked more questions but 50 plus years ago I too was more interested in the future, not the past. It is amazing that now years later, I realize that Grandma was a very wise lady indeed! I am sure that she knew that she was leaving a lasting impression, one to be carried on. Today- I live far from my own grandchildren but I have that old jar of buttons. Next time the granddaughters visit, I must get those buttons out so we can play. Maybe we can even tie up some bundles for each to save in one of their Great Grandma's old hankies. My old Barbie dolls from the 1950's are carefully stored away but I am sure that six girls would love to hear where they all came from, who gave their clothes to me, or how Barbie became such an icon in my time. That beautiful lace wedding dress that You Go Genealogy Girl #1 made for my Barbie doll in about 1959 or 60 when she was dating my brother-that is tucked away in the little trunk of dolls. Those things may not be ancestors but they are family history and may be the seeds for the future.

One of my twin seven year old granddaughters spent over 5 hours one day helping me to sort and scan old photos, I figured she would last half and hour. What a surprise! That is a memory to be treasured by me and hopefully in years down the road she will treasure the memory of those few hours too. She has mentioned it a few times since so I know she will carry it forward and maybe we can do it again on another visit. She may not remember the names on those photos right now but she will remember they were her family and the little details like the large hair bows and the man with funny ears. Will she be the one to follow in my genealogy footsteps?

You Go Girl #1 recently attended the Family History Expo in Loveland, Colorado. We were to have gone together but my plans changed at the last minute so knowing there was another Expo coming up in Kansas City, I went online to check that out. It looked interesting and I began to think that maybe I could go to that one instead. They were offering several lectures on Swedish research, an area that I research often. I called my son who lives in Topeka, Kansas and asked if I were to come for a visit, would he be willing to drive me into Kansas City for the two day Expo in July since I do not know the city and traffic there at all and it is less than an hour drive from his home in Topeka. To my great surprise and pleasure, he said "can I go too?" Shocked, I think I must have paused because he then said "come on Mom, let's go, it will be a chance for us to spend some time together and it will be fun!" My daughter-in-law told him to go and have fun and she would stay home with the seven children still at home. I feel so privileged that he is taking me and we are both anticipating great fun at the Expo. It has been along time since we have had a Mother and son outing together. He is going back to college this fall, having taken time off with babies at home. His field of study is religious history and archaeology so I am sure that with the full field of lecture titles that are offered at the Midwest Family History Expo that he will have fun and surely learn something new. After all, genealogy IS history. How excited am I? Very... Maybe he will be the one to follow in my genealogy footsteps.

As the author Michael Crichton said-"If you don't know your family's history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree."

Family does move away these days but we can strive to involve them in our world of ancestors and hopefully the day will come when each one knows that he or she really is part of and has respect for his family's history.

You Go Genealogy Girl #2, Cheri


Find a Grave

Search 31.6 million cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search: